Thoughts on Thursday: Balance Act

Hey ya'll! So some of my favorite blog posts have been the 'day in the life..' posts. For some odd reason I always find it purely fascinating to see how others go about their day whether structured or just barely getting by. I especially love seeing the ones with multiple kiddos - whew, ya'll go Mamas! Christina from Carolina Charm just did this recently and I loved it. I only work part time currently so a day in the life post for me would depend on the day - a working day or an off day. I was fortunate enough to spend 21 months at home with Miss A as a stay-at-home Mama and I wouldn't trade that for any amount of money in the world.

After 21 months, I started to just casually browse job postings. We live in such a small town so there really isn't that many at one given time. However, one day I saw where one of the colleges in our town (2 college town) was hiring for some part time only positions in the Graduate and Professional Studies offices. (I've worked in higher education since graduating so I looked into it) All of a sudden I had an interview and then all of a sudden I was a new working Mama with a flexible part-time schedule. I get to work 2.5 days a week, maybe 3 and still have Thurs-Sun with Miss A at home. It really is the best of both worlds and I am so incredibly thankful I landed this opportunity. My office and the group of supportive women I work with are seriously ah-mazing. I'm pinching myself me..

ok so here we go - this will probably be my longest post ever ya'll - whew! 

WORK: Like I said I work Monday, Tuesday and a 1/2 day on Wednesday. Because of this, we have been able to cover Andi's care with family and friends. On Monday my mother-in-law comes to the house and spends the day with her which makes it so easy on me in the evening to just be able to come home. She also does laundry at nap time which is so incredible ya'll (but also sometimes embarrassing haha) On Tuesday I take her out to my Dad's house because since he predominately farms, he moved his schedule around to accommodate a day with Andi (she calls him Afa) and on Wednesday Miss A heads out the door with me by 7:30am and I drop her off at my good friend Erika's house where she gets to spend the day with 3 other girls her age (cue good socialization in an in-home setting) I usually tote her all around with me because hubby works for Norfolk Southern Railroad and unfortunately NEVER has a set schedule. There are however sometimes when he's home and off and I definitely utilize him if they fall on my work days.

MEALS: Ya'll, meal planning is SO IMPORTANT...and with that said, I need to do it (laughing hysterically to myself and shaking head) Hubby always has dinner on the table when he's off and I'm working so we'll eat early on those days around 5:30 or so. Otherwise, I'll have something thawed out and ready to go usually referencing a quick and easy Pinterest meal. Easy cleanup is key, especially if I'm by myself and hubby is gone on an overnight. Andi is so easy and just goes with the flow. She loves everything we eat which makes it so much easier. I am totally not above the occasional chicken nugget meal, spaghetti-os or Kid Cuisine TV dinner - they're lifesavers.

BEDTIME ROUTINE: After dinner we almost always walk the loop around our neighborhood. This is the time where hubs and I get to catch up and decompress while Andi gets stimulation before bed with wildlife, other kids and nature. We love this and have been doing it since we moved to the house a few years ago. Afterwards, Andi has a bath and then has her milk while snuggling and watching a cartoon. Around 7:30 we head upstairs to brush teeth, read books and sing songs and she's in bed usually by 8pm. Then for me its Netflix or DVR and wine time on the couch while hubs browses his phone before we hit the sheets usually by 11pm.

BLOGGING: I was so much better at routine blogging before having Miss A. I started blogging in 2011 as a creative outlet and predominately blogged about new crafts each week. Once we bought our fixer upper historic home back in 2014 I generated a lot of traffic with our weekly home reno updates and home reveals which are all found under the Home Reno tab. I took some time off and then came back shortly after Andi turned a month old. I try to get in at least two posts a week and I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this blogging community. I have friends that I have NEVER met in real life but we have talked, texted, mailed and emailed since about 2013 - that's insane but also incredible! If you're a long time reader of Jessi's Design (formally known as The Thrifty Blonde) then THANK YOU! YOU ARE LOVED!

MARRIAGE: We are terrible at this..we really are. We definitely don't have the rainbows and butterflies type of marriage and need to make more time for each other. Marriage is hard and you have to strive everyday to make it something wonderful. When we do get time off together, we try our best to plan something fun with Andi or go out with Friends. We recently settled into a new church and we are over the moon with the people now in our lives! We facetime often and try to go out at least a few times a month. This last month we've been able to attend tons of fun local events together and its been fantastic! Hubby works so hard to provide for our family and unfortunately that means he's away from us a lot. I'm so thankful for him and cannot believe we're coming up on our 4th wedding anniversary in September!

FRIENDS & FAMILY: This one is luckily easy for us because we live smack-dab in the middle of both sets of parents and family. We're about 25 minutes or so in either direction from them both and that has always been a mega plus. We've always been big time family people and both of us knew we never really wanted to be too far away from family. This is also great for Miss A to have her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles so close to her and in her daily life. My college friends and I are semi spread out but we talk weekly (if not daily) and have annual girls trips to keep us all connected. Locally, I'm surrounded by fabulous women with monthly girls nights and supper-clubs and it is simply perfect! With Andi doing swim lessons and starting preK next Fall, I'm looking forward to meeting other Moms in the area that will be sending their kiddos there as well. Girl time is good for the soul!

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Travel List: OBX Edition

Hey ya'll! With summer upon us, I thought I'd do a spotlight on one of my favorite vacay locations.  I absolutely despise summer, sweating, humidity and heat (diva I know but give me Fall or give me death) unless my hiney is planted on a beach..preferably in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We've been coming to the OBX since I was a little girl and I absolutely adore it. Of course its grown and become such a tourist hotspot but I even love it in the winter. I lived there for two summers as well - one during college and one after and they were my absolute favorite summers.

While my favorite part of the OBX is the northern pars of Southern Shores and Duck, we also stay on the Southern end at Nags Head. We always do a week in Nags Head with my in-laws and the Otey clan an then Mama and I do a week in the northern part. Two weeks a year in the OBX? I'll take it! Hubs and I often look at real estate there just because we always joke that we could totally live there year round! Anyway, with our trips quickly approaching, here is a list of my list of must-sees and must-eats in the OBX.

#1 - I adore Duck, NC and the Sanderling Resort and Spa and its restaurant on the sound Kimball's Kitchen (formerly known as the Left Bank) is my absolute fav. Its all more on the pricey side but if you're looking for a pampering, fine dining getaway then this is it! (I worked here for both summers I lived in the OBX) The tasting menu with its seasonal local flare is ah-mazing and the French 75 is my long-time fav cocktail there!

The Sanderling Resort, Duck NC
at Kimballs Kitchen on the blonde onyx bar 

As for other restaurants in Duck and Southern Shores - these are a must:

The Blue Point (excellent martinis)
Aqua (wonderful dishes and outdoor sunsets - spent my bachelorette here!)
Tommy's Market (best wine selection and made to order lunch! Never leave without their steak seasoning!)
Steamers  (Such a fun place with delicious seafood bisque)
Sunset Bar & Grille (Karaoke and fun drink specials with take home cups!)

Also shop the never-ending shops at Scarborough Fair shopping village and all the shops on the soundside as well that are overlooking the water. (there's a Lilly signature store there as well!)

Family friendly favorites:

The wild horses in Corolla + drive on beaches
The Lighthouses
Dolphin watch Cruises
The Lost Colony Play
Kitty Hawk Kites/Sports Rentals 
Jockey's Ridge State Park
Wright Brothers Memorial 
Roanoke Island Aquarium

Now moving on down to Nags Head and the more southern parts - here is a list of the restaurants we always make sure to visit. And lets not forget about the Tanger Outlets - ALWAYS a rainy day must!

Miller's Waterfront
Tale of the Whale
The Brewing Station (excellent food and nightlife)
Basnight's Lone Cedar (great for big families!)
Tortugas Lie (was on TV!)
Rundown Cafe  (fun cajun flare)
Black Pelican (killer greek salad)
Barefoot Bernies  (get the MD crab dip!)
High cotton BBQ (best value and always love their fried okra)

Tale of the Whale, Nags Head

Basnights Lone Cedar, Nags Head
Tanger Outlets 

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Weekending: HU Takes Crown

Hey ya'll and happy Monday! I must say that I'm sort of excited to get this week going because next weekend is the first weekend in 4 weeks that I have ZERO plans and zero travel planned. We have been so busy this month that it will no doubt feel good to slow down. However, this weekend was such a blast! Mama and I (the menfolk couldn't make it) headed into Roanoke for the 2017 Miss Virginia pageant. Ya'l know how I feel about pageants, especially this one, so I never miss it. Also, it was my good friend Hanna's 10th anniversary since her win in 2007 so we obviously had to be there to celebrate.

This year there was an unbelievable amount of talented young women and the one that took the crown goes to my college! It was no-brainer! Miss Cecili Weber will be this year's Miss VA and head on to compete for the Miss America title in September. This organization is the largest in the country for scholarships for women and ya'll just remember that Miss A is slated to be Miss VA 2037 ok? (hehe)

Mama and I got all dolled up, headed to my favorite restaurant downtown for dinner and then headed over to the pageant. We had so much fun! Afterwards, we attended the after party with all the contestants and the new Miss VA for a meet and greet. We definitely had a little too much fun because Sunday's hangover was one for the books. Why do I do that to my OLD self? WHEW! Overall it was simply wonderful and I'm so excited to follow the upcoming journey of a fellow Hollins woman!

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WHW: Fun Prints

Hey ya'll and welcome to another What's Hap-'Pinning' Wednesday! Jenn and I want to thank ya'll again for joining us each week and sharing with us what's going on in your lives! Today I'm sharing some of my favorite summer trends: fun prints! I adore color and have always been a fan of Ms. Lilly P so these loud and colorful trends are right up my ally. The bottom jumpsuit I could never pull off just because I'm 5'2 but how fun is that thing?! I just want to try it on! Anyway, grab our button and link up below and let me know your favorite summer trends. 

#1 via                #2 Trina Turk Romper via                   #3 via

#1 Ralph Lauren Jumpsuit via                                                                #2 Romper 

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Ya'll - that was one BUSY weekend! We had a jam-packed weekend but it was so much fun! I'm totally exhausted though and ready to sleep until maybe Wednesday. Friday we had a festival we went to and this year we took Miss Andi. Its our local chicken & beer festival (I know, so country) but its so much fun. All you can eat and drink with lots of vendors and two fabulous bands. Andi enjoyed hamming it up and showing everyone her newly acquired dance moves. She made it so much fun for us - gah I love that little girl!

Saturday we relaxed a bit and prepped for our first babysitter that wasn't in-laws or my parents. Riley is a family friend that goes on vacay with us each year (technically family haha) and she agreed to keep Andi since our parents were tied up. It was fun because I haven't, until now, been able to leave a note with instructions for a teen sitter, etc. you know, the phone numbers and all that old-fashioned stuff haha We left her snacks and everything and they did great together! We had an alumni meeting at my high school at 5:00 and then headed straight to the Summer Garden Opera which is literally one of my favorite events that our town puts on each summer. Great food, everyone in town attends and the outdoor opera performance is just the icing on the cake!

Sunday we headed to church before splitting our time between both sets of families for Father's Day celebrations. Hubs headed to work by 2 and Andi and I joined my family for a big seafood cookout before heading home and crashing by 10pm. It was packed and busy but so fun!

Linking up with Biana & Meghan for Weekending

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WHW: Summer Fun

Hey ya'll and welcome to What's Hap-"pinning" Wednesday where you join Jenn and little ole me for a fun linkup weekly to tell us what's going on! Today I'm sharing some fun summer activities we've been up to lately and also some bucket list items I hope to do by the end of the summer. With that said, if you have any fun, toddler-friendly ideas or activities for the summer - send them my way! I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Last Friday our little town kicked off its Summer under the Stars series where each month they play a different movie at the outdoor Crute Stage. You can bring blankets or lawn chairs and concessions are available as well. Its right in the heart of downtown off of main street and it is so fun ya'll! Last Friday, to kick off the 20th anniversary, they showed Disney's Beauty & the Beast. My parents took Andi because it was also rumored that Belle was going to make an appearance to meet all the little ones. She had SO much fun and Belle even gave her a rose. She also sat through the entire movie which was shocking because it was way after her usual bedtime since they have to wait for it to get dark. We're already looking forward to the next one for sure!

Can we talk about how tall my little girl looks here? WAH!

Also a summer staple, popsicles are a must in this heat! Back in the 90's, my Mama always made those simple plastic-holder, freezable popsicles with me and I was so happy when I saw them at Target the other day. I snagged a few and we introduced Andi to the simple goodness of homemade popsicles. This go-round we used Apple Juice and they were a huge hit but there are so many concoctions out there using fresh fruit, edible flowers and more!

Summer bucket list wise, I'd love to take Miss A to the zoo for the first time. Actually, I'm dying to take her to the zoo and I can't wait. She loves animals so I know she'll be in heaven. The beach is a must in our household so that's obviously on the list and the pool but what other fun summer activities should I plan with her? Help a Mama out ya'll!

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